Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Marianne Leone's New Book Details Life With a Disabled Son

The actress's memoir honors her son, Jesse, who died from cerebral palsy in 2005.
By Julia Dahl
WebMD Magazine

When Marianne Leone learned she was pregnant in 1987, she and her husband, actor Chris Cooper -- seen in such movie hits as The Bourne Identity, Seabiscuit, and American Beauty -- were living in a tiny sixth-floor walk-up near New York City's Times Square. Money was tight, but the couple was ecstatic. "I had a beautiful pregnancy," says Leone, who is best known for her role as Joanne Moltisanti, Christopher's mom, on HBO's The Sopranos. "I didn't worry about a thing."

But at 30 weeks, Leone went into labor and gave birth to a 3.5-pound boy, Jesse. After three days in the hospital, Jesse suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage, and doctors said he'd likely die within a week. Jesse survived, but his parents realized something was wrong when, at 4 months, he couldn't hold his head up.

WebMD the Magazine Now Available Online

The enormous popularity of WebMD the Magazine – previously only read in your doctor's office – is why we're proud to announce the release of WebMD the Magazine Digital Edition.

In each edition, you will get
these features:
  • Expert beauty tips
  • Healthy recipes
  • Celebrity health stories
  • And much more!

When Jesse was almost 2, doctors diagnosed him with cerebral palsy (CP) and seizure disorder. In her new memoir, Knowing Jesse: A Mother's Story of Grief, Grace, and Everyday Bliss, Leone tells the story of her life with Jesse, who died at 17 from a seizure. Jesse couldn't walk or talk, but he wrote poetry, swam, and inspired those around him to expand their definition of "disabled."

According to United Cerebral Palsy, an estimated 764,000 Americans are living with CP, a term that covers a number of neurological disorders that permanently impair body movement and muscle control when the developing brain is damaged. There is no cure, but physical and occupational therapy can drastically improve quality of life.

These days, parents groups and therapy centers are just a mouse click away, but when Jesse was growing up, Leone felt utterly alone. "I wrote this book to celebrate my son's life," says Leone. She also hopes it will teach medical and educational professionals about the powerfully positive -- or negative -- role they can play in the lives of disabled children and their families.

Reviewed on September 02, 2010

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd